5 Easy Moves For Strong and Sexy Abs

5 Easy Moves For Strong and Sexy Abs

When we set out to lose weight, many of us focus on getting a toned, flat stomach first. After all, it's motivating when you find yourself slipping into jeans that haven't fit you in years, and the compliments that come flying your way can help you stick to your healthy eating and exercise routines. Sure, a more toned midsection can ease your bathing-suit anxiety. But it can also protect you from injury: Research shows that a strong transversus abdominis—the muscle that wraps around the torso—stabilizes your back, which makes it easier to lift anything, whether it’s kids or grocery bags. To work this tricky-to-target area, try these 5 easy moves that you can do at home.

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I Made My First Wig!

Hello Lovely,

I HAVE NEVER BEEN THE PERSON TO WEAR WIGS! I always grew up with the belief that if you want it, earn it. That applied to my finances and my hair. It was only when I began working after college that I began to experiment with extensions. I first got into it when I bought coloured extensions, and hot glued the tracks to the comb clips so that I can slip them in and out. I'm very non-commital with hairstyles, hence why I don't have locs. When my hair was permed, I liked using the coloured extensions and soon matching extensions that I used to add length and thickness to my hair. I went from have 14" hair to about 18".

Since then I've worn extensions with braids but stayed away from sew-ins, glued in tracks, and whole wigs in general because I found they were too tight. One of my best friends has a wig collection and it's always fun seeing her instagram posts wearing the various wigs, so one day a light bulb went off in my head and I wondered how hard it would be to make one of my own. Although I knew wigs could be costly depending on the type of hair, to be honest I don't know Jack Squat about weave. But that didn't stop me from having a ball wig shopping with one of my bestie's! I've made two wigs so far and I've had so much fun making them. I definitely have room for improvement so I'm going to try again with my last wig. I'm making these wigs to wear whenever I'm having a bad hair day or if I don't feel like fixing my hair. So on my mission to that I decided to experiment with my hair and I really like the results so far!

Don't forget to follow me on Youtube as I will slowly start putting out videos on that platform. I'm thinking about making a video every two weeks. What do you guys think? Do you like following my adventures? Share your reactions to my first two wigs in the comment section below! I love hearing from you.

No-Knead Artisan Style Dutch Oven Bread

Hello Lovely,

I must be the craziest person on the planet because after a night of hardcore partying and drinking, I woke up at 8 am to bake bread. This is the crazy sort of thing that happens when I'm an idiot and I check my email in bed before doing anything. I saw this recipe, saw that it was only four ingredients and thought, "Hey I can do that!"

Mind you, I have never made bread before, but I figured how hard can it be? It's actually really easy....once you have yeast at home....know the price of yeast after realising that you don't actually have yeast at home and have to run to the store to buy some....actually carry the correct amount of money to the store to buy yeast...and use an oven with a functioning dial so you actually know the temperature you're setting the oven to and your bread doesn't sit in the oven not actually baking for 45 minutes, bread is super easy to make!

But when it finally did finish two hours later than it should've, I was glad that I stuck it through! It was delicious! The bread is super crunchy on the outside, but moist and soft on the inside! I buttered it and was in heaven! Get the recipe after the jump!

 

No-Knead Artisan Style Dutch Oven Bread

Author: Little Spice Jar

Serves: 1 loaf (approx. 8 servings)

Just 4 simple ingredients to make my homemade no-knead bread! This dutch oven bread requires barely any work and you don’t have to be an expert bread maker to make good bread. Stop paying for artisan style bread when you can make it at home!

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ cups water (heated to 100ºF) 
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt (I used one part regular salt and one part garlic salt)
  • 1 tablespoon yeast (active or instant)
  • 3 ¼ cups all purpose flour

Instructions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the water, sea salt, and yeast. Stir to combine, don't worry if all the salt and yeast don't dissolve. Add the flour and continue to stir until the bread dough is mixed. At this point you can place the dough in a tupperware box that's 3 times the size of the dough (with a lid) or just use plastic wrap on the the mixing bowl. Let the dough rest for 2 hours at room temperature. If the room is particular cold, say in winter, let the dough rest for 2 ½ hours.
  2. When the dough has rested, you'll notice it has grown in size and there are lots of small bubbles on the surface of the dough. Place the dough in the refrigerator. You can now leave it in there for up to 14 days.
  3. When ready to bake the bread, remove dough from refrigerator 2 hours prior to when you'd like to bake the bread and allow the dough to rest and come to room temperature.
  4. When the 2 hours of resting time are up, position a rack in the lower third of your oven and preheat the oven to 450ºF.
  5. When the oven is done preheating, place a 6-8 quart dutch oven (with the lid) in the oven and allow it to heat for 30 minutes. While the dutch oven is heating, dust a large sheet of parchment paper with flour. Carefully remove the dough without punching it down and quickly shape it into a ball. You don't want to over work the dough so this shouldn't take more than 20 seconds. Dust the top of the bread dough with flour, cover with the plastic wrap and allow the dough to rest while the dutch oven is done heating.
  6. Carefully remove the heated dutch oven from the oven. Remove the plastic wrap from the dough and carefully lower the parchment sheet inside the dutch oven. Cover with lid and place back in the oven. Allow the bread to bake for 45 minutes covered. After 45 minutes, remove the lid and allow the bread to brown for an additional 8-12 minutes. Mine took exactly 10. Let the bread cool before slicing.


    STORAGE: Store the bread wrapped in plastic wrap then kept in an air tight container at room temperature. Bread will last for 3 days, after 3 days diced it up and make croutons!

You can put anything on this. You can make sandwiches out of it, butter it, or cover it in your favourite jam or jelly.

Enjoy!

XoX,


DIY Catnip Toy

I'm baaaaaaaack!!!!

 

And best of all, it's Friday!

 

I got back from vacation on Tuesday and it took me a few days to re-adjust. I don't wish to go into details about my trip but just know that I had a great time and I boyfriend and I really bonded. I got a good amount of shopping done, which was how I came to this project.

 

I was genuinely too lazy to buy cat toys for my cats. But I did manage to buy catnip for them from the Dollar Tree (my favourite store in the entire world). So yesterday, while I waited for my computer to install Windows 10 (which took about two hours to complete), I made these little bad boys (also while watching a marathon of the Daily Show). Is anyone else sad that this show is over? I was doing fine up until Stephen Colbert gave his speech and Jon Stewart gave his final speech. And when Bruce Springstein started playing, I was a puddle. I only started watching the show in 2011, after a college friend could not believe that I had never watched the show. And ever since then I was hooked. Between Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert, they were the only people who could get me to care about world events and current affairs.

(Let me move on before I start getting sappy again)

Okay, this project probably only took a total of 20 minutes, including prep time.

I used a fabric we had for a really long time, with the intent of making a pillow case out of, but just never got around to making it. I would suggest using a on old scrap piece of fabric that you probably should've thrown away but saved just for a project like this. A nice square size with two pieces of fabric should do the trick.

Start by making a simple satchet or casing. All you have to do is ensure that both right sides are facing together and everything lines up evenly (not that your cats will really notice). Still all the way around the four corners but leave an opening about a teaspoon size.

Turn the satchet inside out. Depending on the shape you went with, it should look something like this (ignore my chipping nail polish):

Then you can stuff your satchet with the catnip. I used my scoop that came with my coffee maker to gently scoop about two teaspoons of catnip into the satchet.

I didn't want it to be too full in case the cats somehow ripped it and it ended up all over the place.

At this point my nosey cat couldn't resist but "inspect" my project.

 He was so cute, eagerly sniffing around my sewing desk, but he had to wait.

And boy was he happy when I was done! I made two (one for each of my cats). Ichigo (my ginger cat, the male) played with it the most at first, and even though there were two, Rukia (my black and white female cat) wasn't too impressed.

She also ran away any time she saw the light from the camera. She's very antisocial like that.

But Ichi liked it and had a ball playing with it. Best of all, it only cost me $1 and approximately 20 minutes to make.


How do you treat your pets? Feel free to comment here or on Facebook. And don't forget to follow me on FacebookInstagram, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Bloglovin'. Whew, that was a mouthful!


XoX,

Olivia


Tags

cats

pets

family

toy

catnip

diy

easy

simple

quick and easy


Maple Almond Butter

Wow!

It's definitely been awhile since I've posted but I'm back. I still don't have my new lens but I shall be reunited with it shortly (I hope). Until then, I'll try to give you the best quality photos I can with a cell phone. It's not my personal preference, but not trying new things just because I can't photograph it is no way to live. Right? Right!

So to celebrate Meatless Monday, (and the fact that I can now leave work at 3pm because it's summer) I made some almond butter! I'm not crazy over nuts and will only eat peanut butter if it's creamy, but something told me this was a must try and my gut is glad that I  trusted my gut! I got the recipe from Show Me The Yummy. I had to make a few changes as I only had about 1/2 cup of almonds and not 2 cups, so with my barely basic math skills, I made some adjustments. THIS IS DELICIOUS!

Probably more so because I used genuine real Canadian maple syrup (I like saying that!) This recipe is even safe to give to your dogs! Just cut the oil, vanilla, and salt in half and eliminate the maple syrup.

MAPLE ALMOND BUTTER RECIPE

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups almonds (I used roasted and salted almonds. It allows me to skip the step of having to roast them)

  • ¼ cup real maple syrup (not pancake syrup)

  • 2 teaspoon coconut oil + 1 teaspoon after blending

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

  • ½ teaspoon cinnamon

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 300 degrees F.

  • Place almonds on a baking sheet and toss with maple syrup and two teaspoons of coconut oil.

  • Roast for about 25-30 minutes, stirring half way through.

  • Let cool for 10 minutes.

  • Place roasted almonds into food processor and process until smooth. You’ll need to stop and scrape down the sides. This should take about 5 minutes.

  • Once creamy, add in vanilla, cinnamon, salt, and another 1 teaspoon of coconut oil and process until well combined.

NOTES

This should be stored in the fridge.

Strawberry Lemon and Rosemary Infused Water

I LOVE water.

For at least three years now, I've travelled with a large water bottle that I try to finish every day. Of course there are days when I fall short of that goal. And we all have our moments. You know what I mean. When you're thirsty, and instead of reaching for that something good, you reach for something sugary and sweet instead. Or when the something that's supposedly good for you isn't necessarily good for your wallet? (Put down the $9 Strawberry Banana Smoothie and walk away! Yes, YOU!)

Making healthy choices can be difficult, especially when it starts to get hot. For us, in the Bahamas, we're practically in our summer heat and it's only getting worse. So the best thing we can do right now is hydrate! Getting our daily dose of hydration is as important as breathing. Especially during the summer months, when our bodies sweat overtime, we need to make sure there’s plenty of water coming in to keep us going. The easiest method to make plain water taste better and to convince ourselves to drink more of it is to infuse it with fruits, veggies and herbs.

I never understood the fruit infused water craze and this is my first attempt to honest (I really didn't understand why you couldn't just drink plain old water). The original recipe actually called for ginger, but somehow I misread it and convinced myself that it asked for mint (which I still couldn't find in the food store anyway) so rosemary it is! So just play along and act like the rosemary was meant to be there (no disrespect to you rosemary, you're a great team player). But rosemary is still a spice which adds it's own unique flavour to this lemonade-tasting infused water. Serve this at your next garden party or get together and really impress people!

Because no one drinks plain water any more.

Strawberry Lemon and Rosemary Infused Water

 

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup strawberries, tops removed and sliced

  • 4 lemon slices

  • 1 Rosemary leaf

  • Water

Directions:

  • Add strawberries, lemon slices and rosemary to a liter-size jar or bottle.

  • Fill with water, cover and chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour before enjoying.

XoX,

Olivia

3-Step DIY Cut-off Shorts

This tutorial is a long-time coming. Like years in the works. I don’t know how or why I kept putting this project off. I was starting to fall out of love with thrift store shopping and there was no way I was cutting any of my own jeans. Even the South Pole jeans that I almost never wear. (I think it’s the hoarder in me).

So when I got my jacket that I wore to the 2 chainz concert from the thrift store, I got these jeans as well. It actually wasn’t until I had finished cutting them that I realised these are Armani Jeans. And can you believe I only spent $4 on them?! What a steal!

So if you've ever wanted cut-off shorts and didn't quite know how to cut them, I've got three easy steps for how to turn your unwanted jeans into something trendy and cute. (And just in time for Spring season too)!

So if you've ever wanted cut-off shorts and didn't quite know how to cut them, I've got three easy steps for how to turn your unwanted jeans into something trendy and cute. (And just in time for Spring season too)!

  1. Start by laying your chosen jeans out on a flat surface. Make sure everything is smoothed out.

  2. Using a pair of shorts that fit you very well, lay those on top of your jeans. The crotch area on both pants should line up.

 3.  Estimate about half an inch below the hemline of your shorts and mark that on your jeans with chalk, then cut on that line.

 3.  Estimate about half an inch below the hemline of your shorts and mark that on your jeans with chalk, then cut on that line.

  4.    Wash your jeans if you want the frayed look at the hemline and you’ve got your own pair of cut-off jean shorts!

  4.  Wash your jeans if you want the frayed look at the hemline and you’ve got your own pair of cut-off jean shorts!

I wore my new shorts to a music video release party this past Thursday. What do you think? Are you going to make your own pair for Spring? Don’t forget you can add anything you want to your shorts like studs or lace. I kept mine plain for now and may add to it later. The possibilities are endless!

XoX,

Olivia

Kitchen Hack: Never Buy Green Onions Again

We all know gardening is a great way to be frugal.

Growing your own fruits and veggies means lower grocery costs and fewer trips to the store to pick up a vegetable you need for dinner. Plus, there’s no denying that all fruits and veggies taste better when they’re fresh.

Unfortunately, all that great savings comes to an end when summer comes to a close, but there are actually a few vegetables you can grow all year long, regardless of your climate, space constraints or green thumb (which I severely lack)!

Green onions grow fast, and all they need is a little water and a lot of light. With very little effort, you can have a steady supply of green onions, grown right in your kitchen! They add an extra kick to almost any dish, so they’re great to have on hand (especially when they’re free!)

The next time you pick up a bunch or two of green onions at the grocery store, don’t discard the white ends after you’ve used up all the greens. Instead, stick the white root end into a glass with an inch or two of water then place it in a sunny window. THAT'S IT!!!

Make sure to trim most of the green end off before you place it in the water, or they’ll just get droopy!

Within a day or two, you’ll notice the green shoots starting to regrow, and the roots in the water getting longer. In less than a week, they’ll be back to their original size, and you can just trim off as much as you need, whenever you need it.  

 Not only is this a useful little “kitchen garden,” it also makes a pretty little plant to sit on your windowsill. The best part, though, is knowing you’ll never have to buy green onions again!